In one of my recent meetings I had the chance to connect with a member of the senior management of a notable digital tele-communications company and we had a very interesting conversation. We were discussing the work ethics and business culture of senior management in the enterprise, and the expectations of such individuals.
My acquaintance told me about a conversation he'd had with one of his team who had expressed surprise at being expected to be read up on any business conversations that took place over the weekend. This I find is a very contentious point in modern business. Lots of individuals will resent being asked to read work emails over the weekend as it interrupts their undoubtedly well-earned and well-deserved down time at the end of a week's work. However modern business doesn't really sleep, and business operations don't shut down over the weekend, thus many senior business leaders seem to be more and more inclined to stay connected to their work in their free time. In combination with growing, rigorous consumer demands and the competitive nature of all markets, staying connected to the business core seems to be held as synonymous with staying ahead.
Now, to a certain degree I believe that there should be separation between work and home life, if not these kind of high pressure, high responsibility jobs will burn you out faster than a dry match. However, it was surprising to hear the very well thought out and well reasoned argument that was made to support this view of remaining connected on the go and outside of working hours. My acquaintance explained to me that being disconnected from business conversations to the point of being unaware of them was highly unproductive for senior management for these 4 key reasons.
1. Senior Management
In this scenario the person my contact was originally explaining these reasons to happened to be in the top 1% of a global, billion dollar enterprise, and sat a mere 2 pay grades beneath director level. The simple fact is there are thousands of people that would do a hell of a lot to get a job of that calibre, and if you aren't willing to devote 110% in today's cut throat market, you can guarantee that there is someone else that will. You just don't receive the kind of employment package that senior management enjoy without real hard work, and that means being connected to the business as much as possible so that you can really deliver for it.
The next important factor of the necessity to be aware of business discussions outside of the staple 9 to 5 was made around knowledge shared and knowledge gained. What was made abundantly clear here was that senior management weren't being asked to actively work in their free time. What is expected is that they are 'aware' so that when they return to work, they don't lose half a day playing catch up on conversations that have proceeded without them. This was directly related to the fact that management are expected to be knowledgeable, and missing out on important business conversations not only leaves you out of the loop, but decreases your chance to both share your knowledge and learn from others. This knowledge transfer actually works for both the organization and for the individual. Gaining knowledge is self-improvement, and missing conversations is directly missing opportunities to contribute knowledge to projects or key decisions, and these are opportunities to really achieve.
This was possibly the most surprising aspect of our discussion. Aside from the personal gains and business needs, the next point made was about all the other hard working staff that feed business success. A global digital telco with tens if not hundreds of thousands of staff, including support staff that work through the night, are committing themselves to delivering for customers. How can senior management expect staff to work difficult hours, commit to trying project delivery timescales and provide exceptional customer service, if they can't back them up with timely business decisions and strategy that never stops when they don't?
4. Adaptable, Flexible, Agile
But the biggest and simplest reason explained to me for remaining connected was to do with the state of modern day business. It's no longer enough to have a business and a great website to maintain profitability and success. Business requires passion, innovation and progress. Competitors are always looking to make strides ahead of your business every day, and the only way to stay successful is to be ardently striving to achieve more than them. The key to beating your competitors is change, and being responsive is a huge part of this. Time to market for products, time to project completion and time to respond to change, are just a few of the ways that we can see the time sensitive nature of business today. This is the need for key decision makers in senior management positions to be in the loop when out of the office. They can make important calls quickly, to keep the business moving forwards.
These are all valid points for gearing towards business success, and while not everyone will agree with this approach to work and personal life balance, at least with the very latest enterprise technology you can empower your staff to work however best suits them. In fact this is a workstyle that continues to grow, and in a recent survey by PGi it was noted that 82 percent of U.S. employees choose to check in with the office once a day while on vacation, and 40 percent reported checking in multiple times a day. This goes to show the growing want and need for employees to stay connected and how business culture is developing to accomodate more flexible workstyles with the right technology in place.
Microsoft are staying ahead of this tend in the workforce by investing heavily in mobile accessibility, and this is key to remaining connected to your work so that you never miss a key business discussion. This can be everything from simple email access, through to more sophisticated mobile access to enterprise collaboration solutions or digital workspaces. Your staff are no longer restricted by device when they need to be on the go but want to remain in the loop with the Microsoft enterprise technology stack. If you want to know more about how mobile access to your internal communication platforms can support greater productivity, then check out our page on mobile accessibilty via the button below or get in contact today.